Soil microbes-mediated enzymes promoted the secondary succession in post-mining plantations on the Loess Plateau, China

Qi Zhang, Jing Ma, Alejandro Gonzalez-Ollauri, Yongjun Yang, Fu Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The diversity of vegetation configuration is the key to ecological restoration in open-pit coal mine dump. However, the recovery outcomes of different areas with the same vegetation assemblage pattern are completely different after long-term evolution. Therefore, understanding the causes of differential vegetation recovery and the mechanism of plant succession is of great significance to the ecological restoration of mines. Three Pinus tabulaeformis plantations with similar initial site conditions and restoration measures but with different secondary succession processes were selected from the open-pit coal mine dump that has been restored for 30 years. Soil physicochemical properties, enzyme activities, vegetation and microbial features were investigated, while the structural equation models were established to explore the interactions between plants, soil and microbes. The results showed that original vegetation configuration and soil nutrient conditions were altered due to secondary succession. With the advancement of the secondary succession process, the coverage of plants increased from 34.8% to 95.5% (P < 0.05), soil organic matter increased from 9.30 g kg−1 to 21.13 g kg−1 (P < 0.05), and total nitrogen increased from 0.38 g kg−1 to 1.01 g kg−1 (P < 0.05). The activities of soil urease and β-glucosidase were increased by 1.7-fold and 53.26%, respectively. Besides, the secondary succession also changed the soil microbial community structure and function. The relative abundance of Nitrospira genus which dominates the nitrification increased 5.2-fold. The results showed that urease and β-glucosidase promoted the increase of vegetation diversity and biomass by promoting the accumulation of soil organic matter and nitrate nitrogen, which promoted the ecological restoration of mine dumps.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-93
Number of pages15
JournalSoil Ecology Letters
Issue number1
Early online date7 Jul 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jul 2022


  • soil microbes
  • secondary succession
  • pinus tabulaeformis
  • soil enzyme
  • ecological restoration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Soil Science
  • Ecology


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